During the ALCS Cliff Lee was a mystery to the Yankee hitters. In the off season it was a mystery to what team he would sign with. It did not seem like too much of a mystery though because we all thought he would sign with either the Yankees or the Rangers. Then a day or so prior to his signing we heard of a “mystery” team. When I first heard it might be the Phillies I thought “The Phillies don’t need Lee.” That didn’t matter though. They wanted him and he wanted to be a Phillie again. Here is a list of reasons that helps explain his signing with the Phillies in no particular order:
He wanted to be on a team that boasted a rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. He said it was a “no-brainer” to want to be a part of what some are calling possibly the best rotation of all-time. Some are comparing the rotation to Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and Avery of the early 90’s. I can understand how Cliff Lee would want to be apart of the Phillies rotation and how it would be a “no-brainer.”
His wife Kristen Lee created a list of pros and cons about playing for the Rangers, Yankees and Phillies. The Phillies had more pros than cons over the other teams so that influenced their decision for Lee to sign with the Phillies. Some of the pros that the Phillies had over the other teams was the accessibility on the roads and traffic to which city had the best restaurants.
Cliff Lee wanted to go back to the National League because he likes to hit. He batted .212 in his brief stint with the Phillies in 2009 going seven for thirty-three with two doubles. I would say any pitcher with a batting average over .200 is better than average. He also liked not having to face a designated hitter. Like most pitchers I would imagine he would rather face another pitcher than a designated hitter.
He wanted to go to a team that have a chance of winning or going to the World Series every year. I can see the Phillies going to the playoffs every year while he is with them for the next five years. I can also see the Yankees and Rangers going every year also to the playoffs too. So where is his explanation for that response? Well, I do not think he really cares now that he is a Phillie.
Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies play do not have a Teleprompter telling the fans when to cheer. O.k., I lied about that one. I imagine every stadium has some kind of Teleprompter to get the fans cheering (please someone correct me if I am wrong). I never heard of a player complaining about the fans needing a Teleprompter to get them into the game. I could write a whole article on fans needing to be prompted to make noise or show that they care about what is happening in the game. I am not going to bash fans though because we run this sport. Without us the sport would cease to be profitable (just like any other sport). I do think it is funny he mentioned fans needing to be prompted to make noise. All of sudden there is not much going on and the stadium is going crazy. You look around and wonder “What is going on anyways?” Then you notice there’s a “Make Noise!!!” sign flashing and you realize why the stadium is louder than usual.
Ultimately Cliff Lee wanted to go back to where he was comfortable. He said from first day he joined the Phillies in 2009 he thought the team was something special. Here is a quote from him after he found out he was traded to the Mariners: “At first I didn’t believe it because I thought we were working out an extension with the Phillies,” Lee said. “I thought I was going to spend the rest of my career there. I loved my time there in Philly, but obviously this goes to show this is a business and you never know what’s going to happen until you have a full no-trade clause. I’m looking forward to helping the Mariners win. My initial reaction was disbelief and shock. After it sank in and I got to looking at that Mariners team and what’s going on there, I liked what’s happening there and I’m going to do everything I can to help them win.”
The left-hander said there simply was not enough communication between him and the Phillies to get an extension done. He also understands their interest in acquiring Roy Halladay.
“There was not enough dialogue,” Lee said. “Basically they had an opportunity to get the best pitcher in baseball, too. I can’t blame them for choosing Roy Halladay over me basically.”
So there you have it and the mystery is solved. Cliff Lee never wanted to leave the Phillies in the first place. Like all of us he wanted to be where he was more comfortable.